With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).
There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there.
The ATI offerings are really a heater, in the cold Melbourne weather at the moment just sit in front of the exhausts and you can warm yourself up with ease. The core and exhaust temperatures are well up from the Nvidia offering.
Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.
After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).
Idle noise we have very little difference between the cards, when we crank it up though and find ourselves in a game the new Radeon HD 2900 XT is the loudest card out of the bunch.